No, Ireland is not a very big potato producer, but it deserves special recognition. The Irish were the first to give the práta a truly warm welcome to Europe in the early 17th century, and the tuber has been an intimate part of the country's history ever since.
It is also associated with a national tragedy. By the 19th century, potatoes supplied 80 percent of people's calorie intake and was a major source of livestock feed. But dependence on the potato proved a double-edged sword: in the 1840s, potato blight destroyed most of Ireland's potato crop, leading to a famine that caused the deaths of one million people and the emigration of millions more.
Today more potatoes are still eaten in Ireland than in most other countries of the world. In 2007, Ireland's 830 potato farmers produced an estimated 455 000 tonnes of potatoes, 85 percent being ware potatoes for consumption, and the rest seed potato for replanting. (Source: International Year of the Potato)
Current Potato Market Report Ireland
The two most important potato varieties in Ireland (based on area grown) are:
- Rooster (38%)
- Kerr's Pink (21%)
Other popular varieties in Ireland are British Queen, Record, Maris Piper, Golden Wonder, Home Guard and Cara (Source: Bord Bia)